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We are about to start a project to implement an enterprise collaboration platform on top of SharePoint 2010 It's basically the notion of workspaces where users can exchange files.

However, given the amount of users and the diversity among them (Doctors, researchers, students, employees), there is one hard non-functional requirement: they want an intuitive user experience. They simply don't want to use the SharePoint out of the box.

So here is my question. How hard would be to implement a nicer/simpler user experience using pure HTML/JS talking to an HTTP backend (hosted inside the sharepoint) which uses the SharePoint APIs (SPServices? or ClientObjectModel?). Something like the figure in the link:

Does the SharePoint object model supports the operations below programatically?

  • Upload/download documents
  • Check in/ckeckout a document
  • Edit/view metadata for a document libary item
  • Assign permissions to the site/document library/folder level
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SharePoint has good enough API to create client-only apps; although be careful with Document upload functionality - afaik it is provided by RPC only. Please also be aware that most of SP services are SOAP-based so you have to deal with XML on the client. but you can also use REST and oData.

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You can do all of this with web services, so it should be available through Javascript.

Take a look at this codeplex project: SharePoint Document Navigator, it might be a good starting point for what you want. It uses SPServices.

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